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April 15, 2009

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OooOO, Brett cussed! =P

Happy Birthday, Amy!

I am glad that that atheist would like to practice grace in light of the suffering of a young child. Actually, that atheist (I'm just gonna arbitrarily give him a name - Darrel) would probably say the same thing to any of his friends who are facing "unfair" treatment from "random chance."

That makes me wonder, why not just say "too bad for you." Why practice grace? Say the hard truth, let the person die - perhaps in a more expedited way because of the lack of morale - therefore ending the suffering.

And at 10 years old, a child can already understand the idea, "there are winners and there are losers."

But this is all tangential to the real problem:

How is there suffering in a game that has no rules? Darrel himself said that his "suffering" is balanced out by the "good" things in life. Are they labeled by the probability of them occurring? Are they labeled by the culture we are raised in? Are they labeled by every individual? I guess so!

Ah, you must be Facebook friends with Melinda and heard about the cupcakes for staff meeting. Thank you! :)

I don't really like the "dying child" question posed to anyone. It's so clearly emotionally loaded, and the response is basically weighted on how comforting it is. For one thing, this largely depends on the responder's own ability to comfort. There are plenty of Christians who wouldn't be able to give very good answers simply because they can't express themselves very well in that way.

For another thing, it only ranks views based on how comforting they are. It's easy to rephrase it to make orthodox Christianity uncomfortable, as well: "What would you say to a dying 10 year old girl who had willingly and knowingly rejected Christ?" The situation itself is uncomfortable, and it's supposed to be. Children aren't supposed to die- that's a consequence of sin, and we're supposed to feel that there's something drastically wrong there. The inability of a worldview to make that problem go away doesn't mean it's necessarily untrue.

That all said, it looks like it was an excellent conversation. I think the Christians there did a good job sticking to one topic and being respectful, and I think the atheists really did an excellent job. It's so good to see people carrying out a respectful discussion like that.


I've basically become an atheist and I hate athesits. God they're dumb.

What would I say to the little girl?

"You'll be with Jesus in paradise soon."

What do i think is the truth? - The reason why she is suffering?

The first answers were right:

"Sucks to be you."

But it is a pretty useless question either way.

I mean, what would the Christian say to a little girl who is watching her parents escorted away to be burned in the Nazi death camps?

Tough subject! I keep thinking of my little nephew that was 9 at the time my grandfather passed away. He cried and didn't really understand why his Paw Paw had to die. With us being a Christian family we had to try to make it make sense to him that things are gonna be ok.

I think all you can do is tell the truth to them and help them anyway possible and let them make sense of it when they get older. It's kind of like when child is adopted. It's hard to tell a 9 or 10 year old why his mom or dad didn't want him. But most adults that were adopted as a child understand things better as to why adoptions take place and they usually say they wouldn't change a thing, considering their adopted parents did a good job in raising them.

It's just impossible to try and get a child to understand what an adult knows. We just have to try and help them deal with it and let them come to their own understanding. There was a quote once said in a book; A man cried to God, "Where were you when my child was suffering and dying in that hospital bed"? God replied, "The same place I was when my Son died on the cross, right beside you"! God Bless!

Dennis,

Excellent comment. Listening to the way the "dying child" question can be given as a challenge, one might begin to think that the standard by which we judge belief-systems just is the nod of the dying child at some attempt to comfort her.

Another "tactic" for handling the problem of pain and suffering that I find subpar is one that STR often employs, namely arguing that the problem of evil presupposes moral realism and that moral realism entails theism. A discussion of the problems with this approach can be found at http://standtofolly.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/tactically-avoiding-the-problem-of-evil/

--zadok

http://standtofolly.wordpress.com/

You are right, ToNy, deception is a great way of resolving problems. Especially when there is no real consequence, I don't see why white lies, peeping toms, sexual deviance, or any "non-harmful" act should be avoided.

And that little voice? Who cares about it, right? When you ignore it long enough, the mind can completely cease to send the chemicals that cause blushing.

But I wonder... if I pushed this way of thinking even further, at what point would you stop me?

Germany almost didn't prosecute the man who butchered and ate another man who gave his consent to be eaten...

Oh, I know the answer to that question! You would call me "sick" in your opinion, but you wouldn't condemn it as wrong.

Does that mean that consent is what it all comes down to? Why is that? I don't know of too many criminals that consented to be put in jail. So it is consent with the exception for those who ignore the consent of others first? In a naturalistic point of view, what is the mechanics of this transfer of freedom?

I guess you would say that we could find a rudimentary form of this kind of transfer when monkeys punish other monkeys for not sharing...

Actually, I shouldn't be debating myself because I might be just creating a strawman, I'll stop now.

Augustine,

>> ToNy, deception is a great way of resolving problems.

Sometimes the best way.

>> In a naturalistic point of view, what is the mechanics of this transfer of freedom?

freedom is an illusion

>>Sometimes the best way.

How do we know this opinion isn't a deception on your part?

"sometimes mistakes happen...s*** happens."

Like Brett said, this is a perfect reduction of his view...and this is somehow better than the Christian answer?

"I think life has been worth living."

Fair enough, but as it stands, that was a bald assertion taken on blind faith. No justification given.

This was a very good illustration of Shaeffer's "upper story leap." That fella just jumped from the basement to the penthouse in one fell swoop.

The meaning he takes refuge in in light of evil and suffering is tantamount to shuffling chairs on the Titanic.

One comment in regards to what Dennis said: that's a good observation, but I still think the conversation was very revealing. Basically, Brett asked, "how do you make sense of evil and suffering in light of your worldview?" This is a *very* relevant question, and it's not dependent on the speaker's ability to comfort someone in a tough emotional situation. It's the very same question atheists press on theists, and you can see by the video that this fella struggled mightily reconciling the two.

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